Veranneman’s communications hub improves labour conditions
Veranneman Technical Textiles installed a unique communications room on their weaving site. This room is part of digitalisation efforts and helps monitor the weaving looms, improves internal communication and provides a pleasant meeting space. The Coolbox is an employee initiative and thanks to this and other innovations towards digitalisation, Veranneman has won the Factory of the Future award twice.
At the Veranneman Technical Textiles online coating plant in Ardooie, Belgium, our weavers work in the middle of about 70 weaving looms, causing a lot of noise. The constant zooming and clicking of the machines can make it hard to discuss the monitoring data of the weaving looms. Next to the obvious noise, temperatures can rise quickly when you’re working amidst the weaving looms. In addition, a clear overview of the KPIs, loom data and internal memos, among others, was missing.
The Coolbox, a communications hub
The Coolbox was installed in the middle of the production site to provide an efficient communications hub. It is used by weavers, technicians and team leads for their short debriefs in between shifts. Thanks to the large monitoring screens, the debriefs can be supported with visuals and data. The screens show the KPIs, the speed indicators, loom data, among others. One of the screens is dedicated to internal memos, emails, company information and general guidelines.
The name ‘Coolbox’ was chosen by the employees themselves and it stands for ‘communication in the organisation to improve quality for a lifetime’. It is a cool and almost silent place where colleagues can talk to each other without being disturbed by the loud weaving looms.
An employee initiative
As mentioned before, the Coolbox is an employee initiative. It was the result of the top teams initiative, a series of improvement projects with close involvement of all workers. Employee involvement has always been of major importance to the company’s success. Ever since the very beginning of the Sioen Group, direct communication has been important. Colleagues should talk to each other, know each other, and should be able to discuss ideas and problem situations with their superiors. This type of communication benefits both the employees and the company.
Veranneman’s innovative digitalisation
The Coolbox is a step towards a full digitalisation of the Veranneman production site. Another step in this process was changing from a paper-based production system to a digital system . Instead of using more than 50 000 documents a year for monitoring the weaving looms, a digital platform on tablets is now used. This certainly is a more user-friendly and more ecological alternative.
Thanks to the involvement of our own R&D team in developing the machinery, we can focus on automation, work efficiency, quality, ergonomics and digitisation. We can, thus, focus on improved working conditions for our employees and on sustainable production processes.
Factory of the future
Veranneman Technical Textiles has won the Factory of the Future Award for future-oriented manufacturing companies twice: in 2017 and 2020. The title counts for three years and is awarded by Agoria and Serris. It shows that our efforts in modernisation, digitisation and innovation in the past years have paid off.
With the Coolbox communications hub, Veranneman and the Sioen Group build on ‘resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation’, as is stated in SDG 9. We also help realising SDG 8, as we keep on improving our employees’ working conditions in the process towards decent work for all, as can be found in target 8.5 of SDG 8. The target aims to ‘achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men’ by 2030.